Sitting down on Friday night, looking forward to the long holiday weekend, I figured I would get in a bunch of time playing Fallout 3. After all, with my 100-plus hour game save corrupted, I have a lot of work to do so I can take advantage of the three DLC packs that have come out for the game. Jason and I are chatting in an Xbox Live Party and just before 10 PM rolls around he decides to send an invite for the 1 vs. 100 Beta to the Party, which is just me at this point.
I am prompted to download the client, which amazingly worked. After a quick download, a couple minutes of loading, and another invite, Jason and I were sitting in the Crowd playing the Canadian beta of Microsoft's next Big Thing on Xbox Live: 1 vs. 100. Also, I live in Ohio.
I am not exactly sure how I am playing 1 vs. 100 at this point, but I am. And it seems that the beta is not blocked from the United States, either. My first impressions of the Live game show are much better than Jason's initial thoughts, as we had no disconnects in the two hours we played. Shortly into our session another friend of ours, Wayne, joined our Live Party and we spent the rest of the time answering trivial questions, chatting, and having a blast doing it.
I am not familiar with the TV show at all, but I understood the general concept, and was filled in on the rest. The majority of people are going to be in the Crowd, seeing as there are only 100 slots for the Mob, and then of course The One who is playing for upwards of 10,000 Microsoft Points, and Xbox Live Arcade games (when not in beta). Throughout the night all three of us were in the Crowd, and Jason was even close to the highest scoring Crowd member during one round.
Chris Cashman is no Bob Saget, but his added commentary came off very well, it fit and did not seem awkward. Larry Hryb (Major Nelson) was on the show for about an hour, and it was great to hear him and Cashman talk back and forth. They really went with the vibe of the show, as at one point The One had a very Mario-like Avatar; Cashman threw out a random trivia question, "What actor played Mario in the Super Mario Bros. movie?" At another point during the show they took a live caller, though honestly the three of us were blabbing to ourselves and I could not hear most of the conversation.
1 vs. 100 moves at a pretty good pace; it has small breaks with commercials but they are not forced and are not overdone. Since this is the beta, we saw nothing but Microsoft commercials. To be honest, the two hours went by way too fast, and we had hoped there would be more when it was over. It is as simple as pressing A, B, or X, and the questions were all very relevant to current popular culture, even some that pertained to events that have happened in 2009. I will admit, and was warned ahead of time, I was at a distinct disadvantage when it came to the Canada-centric questions – but I did not care.
I experienced no lag, and enjoyed the entire experience – I can see myself playing this all the time. Getting into the game took a couple minutes, but we made it in before the show was full. At one point during the show, Cashman said there were over 10,000 people playing. At regular intervals through the episode we were shown stats on questions answered by the Crowd, Mob, etc, all in nice bar charts.
I was amazed at how much you can do with your avatar on screen. Using the Y button and left or right on the D-Pad you can change hand gestures from everything from clapping to jumping up and down, a staggering amount of emotes in fact. It adds a little something to the experience, which is polished and just feels like they have nailed it. I can't wait until the U.S. beta starts, but until then, I have a reminder set for the 7 PM show Saturday night. I just hope the Live Party invite trick works!